Chiefs still perfect after 23-13 win over Bills

Linebacker Derrick Johnson isn’t going to apologize for the

Kansas City Chiefs’ perfect start.

”I’ve heard it said that we haven’t played winning teams,”

Johnson said after the Chiefs used two defensive touchdowns to beat

the Buffalo Bills 23-13 on Sunday. ”We’re the best you can be at

9-0 right now. If you can’t respect it, then we’re just going to

keep winning.”

So far so good.

Sean Smith scored on a 100-yard interception return and

linebacker Tamba Hali produced the go-ahead points for Kansas City

by returning a fumble 11 yards for a score.

And now the Chiefs get to enjoy it for an extra week in entering

their bye weekend off before returning to put their record to its

biggest test on Nov. 17. That’s when Kansas City travels to Denver

for a highly anticipated AFC West showdown against Peyton Manning

and the Broncos.

”We have a bye coming up, a chance to kind of catch our breath

a little bit,” quarterback Alex Smith said. ”And then we’ll start

talking about the Broncos.”

The Chiefs keep winning despite a sputtering offense that

managed just 210 yards and settled for three field goals.

And their defense overcame its leakiest outing of the season

after giving up 470 yards to a Bills offense that was led by

undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel.

What mattered was the final result, as the Chiefs matched their

best start to a season, set in 2003, and extended their

worst-to-first run after a 2-14 finish last year.

The Bills (3-6) were left stunned in how they let this game slip

away. Up 10-3 after the first half, they opened the second half by

driving to the Chiefs 1, when Smith intercepted Tuel’s pass and ran

it the other way for a score.

”Obviously, it hurts. It hurts me. It hurts the guys in that

room” Bills coach Doug Marrone said. ”I’m not going to stand here

and say we should’ve won that game because we obviously didn’t. But

it hurt.”

Here’s five things that made the difference as the Chiefs

snapped a six-game losing streak at Orchard Park, dating to

1986.

HAPPY RETURNS: The Chiefs’ defense has scored six times this

season.

Smith’s TD matched the second-longest interception return in

team history, and he was too tired to enjoy it.

”Do you know how long 100 yards is?” Smith said. ”I was

definitely happy I made it. I wanted to celebrate, but I was so

tired.”

Hali scored to put the Chiefs up 20-13 with 12:47 left. He

scooped up a loose ball after cornerback Marcus Cooper punched the

ball out of receiver T.J. Graham’s hands.

TUEL TIME: Tuel’s first NFL start began well before faltering

late. The undrafted rookie from Washington State got his first

career touchdown – a 59-yard connection to fellow rookie Marquise

Goodwin – as he finished the first quarter going 5 of 7 for 112

yards. Tuel struggled the rest of the way, going 13 of 32 for 117

yards with two interceptions.

He started in place of interim starter Thad Lewis (bruised ribs)

and with rookie starter EJ Manuel missing his fourth game with a

sprained right knee.

”Did Jeff play well enough for us to win?,” Marrone asked.

”At times. At times he didn’t. I think you could say that about a

lot of people.”

ON THE RUN: Led by C.J. Spiller’s 116 yards rushing, the Bills

managed a season-best 241 yards against the NFL’s 10th-best rushing

defense. Spiller, who returned after missing one game with a

sprained left ankle, had runs of 61 and 29 yards. He also caught

two passes for 39 yards, giving him 155 yards from scrimmage.

Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles had 90 yards rushing and only

6 receiving as he was held under 100 yards from scrimmage for the

first time this season.

STINGY D: The Chiefs matched an NFL record set by the 1977

Atlanta Falcons in allowing 17 points or fewer in nine straight

games.

The Chiefs have now allowed 111 points, their third-lowest total

through their first nine games, according to STATS. Kansas City

allowed only 88 points through nine games in 1969, and 101 points

over that span in 1973.

SACK-LESS: Kansas City was held without a sack for the first

time this season, after managing a NFL-leading 36 through its first

eight games. The Bills entered the game second in the NFL with 27

sacks. They managed just two against the Chiefs.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org